Common whitebeam

Common Whitebeam


Common whitebeam

Scientific name: Sorbus aria
Common whitebeam is not a common tree, despite its name. It can be found growing wild in a variety of habitats, but is also planted in towns and gardens. Look for shiny, oval leaves with white undersides.

Species information


Height: 8-15m

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


Common whitebeam is one of a group of closely related, shrubby, whitebeam trees, some of which are very rare. It grows in a variety of habitats, including on cliffs and mountainsides, but is also frequently planted in towns and gardens. Clusters of white flowers appear in late spring and ripen to red fruits which are greedily eaten by birds.

How to identify

Common whitebeam has oval leaves, with serrated edges, that are dark and shiny on top and whitish underneath. It produces five-petalled flowers and red, haw-like fruits.


Widespread, but rare in the wild.

Did you know?

One of the rarest UK trees is the Bristol whitebeam (classified as a priority species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework), found only on cliffs in the Avon Gorge and nowhere else in the world.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.